Nonprofit Emergencies are Hard
Nonprofits tend to cruise along OK…until you hit a speed bump. If you're here, there's something big that needs to be handled, RIGHT NOW. Don't Panic. You’re in the right place.
How we approach conflicts and crisis:
I spent several years in-house at a large nonprofit and I'm a trained mediator. When I work with my team on a client emergency, our goals are:
✓ Minimize your lost time and money
✓ Help clients make clear decisions
✓ Reduce harm to the nonprofit
✓ Preserve your working relationships
It's a small world. The people in a conflict today may be potential funders or donors tomorrow. I can help you keep a clear head through difficult times, navigate situations with integrity and plan the way forward.
Things we can help with:
● Board and staff conflicts or removal
● Voting member disputes
● Financial fraud or theft
● Disagreements with key partners or outside groups
● PR nightmares
What clients say about working with us?
“This is the most thorough, but easy to understand email I've EVER read from a lawyer. THANK YOU!!!” – Mandi, voting member at an educational organization
“They were able to expedite my meeting and even get some quick advice the same day! The attempt to accommodate was refreshing and her advice was very intuitive to the situation and helped immensely!” – Bruce, Board member facing a time sensitive issue at a small nonprofit
“Jess knows [our staff] aren't administrators. She's patient. She works with them and helps them understand. At the end of the day it's not just about getting the job done, it's about helping them understand why we need to be where we're at.” – Ron, Public Finance Director at a national nonprofit
I worked with Jess in the capacity of Board Chair for a neighborhood organization, which has access to her services for paperwork and contracts. Jess went above and beyond, ensuring we had paperwork and documentation necessary to support resolution of two major crises, as well as plan for future org changes. Our organization is stronger and more stable because of her astute contractual acumen. Not only that, Jess continually eased our stress through her positive, attentive and kind demeanor. She was a pleasure to work with! I would highly recommend her to anyone seeking clarity in contractual obligations and sustainable document planning for the future.
I was referred to Birken Law Office through another attorney (ZaviehLaw). Ms. Birken assisted me with best formation of entity that would serve my purpose. I know I came into the meeting with what I thought were sound thought process as to the type of entity that would best serve me, however I found out quickly how little did I know after Ms. Birken walked me through a series of very pointed questions, matters that I had not even thought about and guided me in the right direction. You can't ask for anything better than an attorney that is inquisitive, takes interest in your needs and provides you with sound advice. to boot, Ms. Birken took more time than our allotted consultation as more time was needed - now that's service. We had a phone conversation and that suited my needs well. Ms. Birken had flexible calendar that I was able to pick a date and time that was convenient for me. I loved the fact that I could pick a date and time for our call! If you are looking for an attorney who as deep expertise, then I would strongly recommend you call Ms. Birken. I am an extremely happy and satisfied customer! Tommy Z.
Jess is a stellar example of what a lawyer should be. Client-focused, solutions-driven, responsive, beyond competent, and dedicated to her practice. I have had the pleasure of presenting with Jess at major national conferences, which means relying upon her as a partner to prepare written and spoken materials, and to be reliable, knowledgeable, and collaborative. She is all of these things. I would never hesitate to team up with her where my reputation is on the line. I have also witnessed firsthand Jess's dedication to her clients. We have worked intensely on the business of our firms together, and her client focus has taught me many things. Nowhere else will you find a lawyer committed to solving her clients' problems (whether that means hiring her or not) and making their experience in working with her enjoyable and rewarding. In the course of working together on projects, Jess has demonstrated her depth of knowledge of non-profit law, and I would not hesitate for a moment to hire her if the need arises. I simply cannot recommend her highly enough.
Jess was great! She really put our board at ease. We look forward to working with her.
Jess consulted with me in setting up my own practice. She provided excellent, hands-on, practical advice in a host of areas, from tech to business structure to support referrals to you name it. Truly superior service in every way.
Workflow of a Nonprofit Emergency
1. Assessment & Diagnoses Phase. Book an ER Session. We'll work with you to try to stabilize, create a plan of action or (if possible) resolve the situation in under 2 hours. Time is usually critical to the process.
2. Action Phase. We help you develop a plan in the ER Session. Often clients elect to have us help with the plan, helping you manage the situation and connect you with resources you need while things are still in “triage” mode. We strive to be highly responsive in this phase.
3. Retrospective Phase. After the smoke clears, things feel less urgent. Now let's look at what we can do to protect you going forward. We typically work with clients to implement changes that will prevent future costly issues and keep mission delivery front and center.